Great American Recipe winner Brad Mahlof shares his thoughts on winning and showcasing his recipes for the world

The Great American Recipe. Image courtesy PBS
The Great American Recipe. Image courtesy PBS /

The second season of The Great American Recipe is over and done and that means that we have a new winner – Brad Mahlof! And we got to talk to him after his win was announced.

Not only did we want to know what it was like to hear his name from the judges, but we also wanted to know more about his Great American Recipe journey. And honestly, he was a delight to chat with. It makes sense why he won, because even in the interview, it was clear that he is passionate about his food and he stands behind every single recipe he brought to the table.

Throughout the season on The Great American Recipe, it seemed like Brad was a frontrunner to win the whole thing and the fact that he did it with his mother at his side was a beautiful thing to see. So what did he have to say about his journey and what he brought to the table?

Brad Mahlof talks winning The Great American Recipe Season 2

Guilty Eats: What went through your mind when they said your name?

Brad Mahlof: “I was so surprised. I was competing with Salmah and Leanna and they’re both such amazing people, but also amazing, amazing chefs. And so I really had no idea and you know, just to be there and have them announce my name with my mom right there was so special and I was honestly so shocked. And like that’s not produced, that’s real. That’s real and that was a complete surprise. And it was incredible.”

GE: What inspired your feast?

BM: “In my day to day life, I cook everything. But on the show I definitely wanted to showcase my Libyan Jewish culture and heritage. Mafrum, which is the meat stuffed vegetable that I prepared, is kind of the crown jewel of Libyan food. And it’s something that I would cook on a holiday or you know, a big event. So I thought that was kind of like, let me go out with a big bang and do this really labor intensive, but hopefully worthwhile endeavor, with the mafrum and really showcase Libyan Jewish food to its fullest.”

(You can make Brad’s final meal for yourself with his Great American Recipe on the PBS website.)

GE: What was your favorite challenge during the season?

BM: “My favorite challenge it has to be the finale challenge because just having my mom there to cook with me was so special that I think it trumps all the other things even beyond winning. I think just having her there, cooking alongside me…as soon as she got there, the first thing she said was no matter what happens, I’m proud of you. And so it alleviated a lot of the stress I had going into the finale and just having her there and sharing that experience was just so special. So yeah, I think that was definitely my favorite cook.”

GE: Would you do another cooking competition?

BM: “Listen, if someone wants me to be a judge on competition, I’d love to do that. To compete as a contestant…I would. I’m not like jumping back into it right away. Because it’s really really taxing, especially one that’s multi episode, but you know, I say that now but then if someone else came and knocked on my door and said hey, there’s another one to do, I think I would be the first one to raise my hand. But you know, it’s like even right after the show finished up it took me at least six weeks before I even looked at the kitchen. I’m like, I need a real break. It’s definitely a lot but no, I would I would do it again.”

GE: So we are called Guilty Eats so I have to ask what is your guilty eat?

BM: “It’s so indulgent, but I love caviar. I love good caviar. And you know it’s expensive and it’s ridiculous. But it’s just such a novelty and such a delight. I recently was able to make this bagel, just a few weeks ago, completely decked out in black caviar and it was just so indulgent and it was probably the best bagel I’ve ever had. And I felt so guilty eating it and even more guilty posting about it because I’m like, this is just so obnoxious, but it was just amazing. And you know if I had, $1,000 to do it again I would. That’s my guilty pleasure.

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